Shwedagon Paya – the golden temple of Myanmar

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

That’s the name by which I knew it before: The Golden Temple of Myanmar (Burma at that time). Its actual name is Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda) , or locally Shwedagon Zedi Daw.

This bell shaped golden pagoda is not only one of the most stunning sights in Myanmar (former Burma), but also  in Southeast AsiaAnd I have to agree with that! The only downside for me was that, at the time of my visit, the pagoda was undergoing renovation, which meant it was all covered in bamboo scaffolding. Thus I could not admire the full golden splendour of it. But nevertheless, it was still the most impressive pagoda I have ever seen.

Shwedagon pagoda Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Paya covered in Bamboo scaffolding but still impressive

Located on the Singuttara Hill in Yangon (former Rangoon), Shwedagon Paya it is THE landmark of the city and the most sacred religious site for the people of Myanmar.

A few facts about Shwedagon Paya:

  • it is said to contain 8 of Buddhas hair as well as relics of 3 other  Buddhas who attained Enlightement
  • it is 2500 years old
  • it has about 100m height
  • it is completely covered in gold (approximately 9 tonnes)
  • the tip is decorated with precious stones (diamonds, rubies, sapphires, topaz and a huge emerald right in the middle!)
  • it has 4 entrances from the 4 cardinal points
  • some parts can only be visited by monks or other man; no women are allowed
Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

The tip of the stupa is decorated with precious stones

I spent only 1.5 days in Yangon and probably half of the time at Shwedagon Paya. I went there in the morning and in the evening. If you have time I would recommend you do the same. The reason for that is that the place has a completely different atmosphere in different moments of the day. In the morning it seemed so peaceful and relaxing and perfect for meditation. And the best part: very few people.

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Starting at sunset, more and more people are coming for the evening ceremonies held there daily. At dusk, candles are being lit everywhere transforming this in a magical place.

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Candles are being lit

Shwedagon pagoda Yangon, Myanmar

A monk during the evening prayer. Candles everywhere

Additional tip for visiting Shwedagon Paya:

  • opening hours: 04:00-22:00
  • do not go there during the day as you are asked to remove socks and the floor can get very hot, making it almost impossible to walk (especially if you have more sensitive feet)
  • dress code: conservative

The pagoda is situated in the city so it is not difficult to get there either by public transportation or taxi. Alternatively just ask for arrangements at your hotel.

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

One of the 4 entrances

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

A city within the city

Shwedagon pagoda Yangon

People come to relax, socialize, pray! A city within the city

Shwedagon pagoda Yangon

Gold everywhere

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Offerings, flowers , candles

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Evening prayers

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

In the evening all statues are lit up

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Night view of the main stupa

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

The view from the city night

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